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  President Trump Holds News Conference with Colombian President  CSPAN  May 18, 2017 4:06pm-4:38pm EDT

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the russian investigation, senator blumenthal who you just heard commenting there appears to be mounting evidence of obstruction of justice related to the case. the ap reporting that trump remarked that the a point for special counsel to oversee the investigation of russia's interference in the 2016 election hurts our country terribly. it shows we are divided, mixed up and not unified and shows our country in an negative thing. the business insider reports this afternoon that former senator and former vice president nomination joe lieberman is expected to be the next fbi director.
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a reporter asked today if senator lieberman was a finalist and trump reported in the affirmative. now we head to the white house where president trump is holding a meeting with colombian leader leaders. >> thank you very much. it is a great pleasure to welcome president santos to the white house. columbia is one of our closest allies in the hemisphere and today we reaffirm partnership between our two great nations. president santos and i had a very productive meeting and we will continue to work very closely together to bring peace, safety and prosperity to the hemisphere. perhaps no area is really more important in terms of
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cooperation than our joint effort to and the terrible drug crimes that plague both of our countries. recently we have seen an alarm , a highly alarming trend. last year columbia cocoa and cocaine production reached a record hi, which hopefully will be remedied very quickly by the president. we must confront the dangerous threat to our societies togethe together. today i affirmed the united states willingness to assist columbia's strategy to target and eliminate drug traffic networks, illicit financing cocoa cultivation and cocaine production, of which there is far too much. the drug epidemic is poisoning too many american lives and we will stop it. many different ways, one of
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them will be the wall. my administration is committed to keeping drugs and gangs from pouring into our country, already border crossings are down more than 73%. secretary kelly is with us. he has done a fantastic job. thank you very much mr. secretary. in short, we have a tremendous group of people working with us in terms of ice, the ice patrol and border patrol agents. they have done a fantastic job and i would like you to give them my highest compliments. ms 13, likewise, a horrible large group of gangs that have been led into our country over a fairly short amount of time are being decimated by the border patrol, by ice and by our incredible local police forces, and they are getting
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out of our country, or in some cases going directly into prison throughout our country, but they have literally taken over towns and cities of the united states. they will be gone very quickly. i look forward to working with president santos as we target drug trafficking. both the united states and columbia have strong law enforcement and security relationship. we've had it and especially over the past fairly short amount of time. we will continue to fight the criminal networks responsible for the deadly drug trade that our people have a really strong commitment to getting rid of, because they want a much wider future. president santos and i also discussed the deteriorating situation in venezuela, and it is really in a very bad state,
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as you see, as we all see through the media. the stable and peaceful venezuela is in the best interest of the entire hemisphere and america stands with all the people in our great hemisphere yearning to be free. we will be working with columbia and other countries on the venezuelan problem. it is a very horrible problem and from a humanitarian standpoint, it is like nothing we've seen in quite a long time. the united states and columbia are also strong economic partners and we will continue to pursue trade policies that benefit both of our peoples. the nations common goals of protecting our citizens, expanding opportunity and confronting the drug crisis will improve the lives of our people and many throughout the region.
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so many people are being horribly affected by what is going on in terms of violence and in terms of drugs, and we will take care of the situation and we both agree to take care of it strongly and quickly. president santos, it was an honor to meet with you and your entire group of representatives, very talented people who have been working with us and my representative. i look forward to many more meetings. i would like to thank you for being at the white house and being our guest and i would like to congratulate you on winning the nobel peace prize. it's a very great award. >> mr. president, i want to thank you personally for this warm welcome and the strong
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support columbia has received from your administration, from congress and from the american people. [speaking in native tongue]. translator: our nations have had a strategic alliance and extraordinary friendship. we believe in the same principles of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. we work so the western hemisphere can be more prosperous and safe. the united states and columbia have longer standing in the hemisphere and we have supported each other. our soldiers fought shoulder
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by shoulder in the korean war. at the request of the united states we sent those to afghanistan and we are working together to support central america in the fight against drug cartel and the violence of organized crime. i can say, mr. president, based on our conversation this afternoon that i have no doubt that the united states and columbia continue to be today, more than ever a support, one for the other. our alliance was strengthened. our most valuable cooperation can be summed up in very simple terms. when colombians were fighting to survive for our democracy to survive, we faced terrorism
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and drug trafficking and the united states stretched out her hand and helped us win that battle. we will never forget it. today we live in a different country. today columbia is a more peaceful society, a more modern and fairer society. in november last year, we ended the longest and last armed conflict existing in our hemisphere, the guerrilla is putting down weapons at this precise time to the united nations. security has gone down significantly. we have the lowest levels of violence of the past 40 years. at the same time we have had significant progress in
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education, housing, health and social services. millions of colombians have been lifted out of saturday. today we continue, next to you, as partners in peace columbia to consolidate peace in the most affected areas. without the support of your government -- with the support of your government we are removing thousands that murdered and mutilated children, women and soldiers. we are healing their wounds and we are embarking on a big social development program. such as we said today, we are working with your administration to take advantage of the unique opportunity peace offers so as
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to reduce permanently the production of cocoa leaf in columbia and fight the other links in drug trafficking including consumption. we must continue and deepen the fight against organized crime, transnational crime responding not just to drug trafficking but human trafficking and illegal mining. our shared agenda ingrained with a high level dialogue that we value so much includes cooperation which has allowed us to have unprecedented progress toward quality education for everyone and this is a priority in the policies of my government, and we wish to do more with regard to innovation and technology
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with the active participation of the private sector, we have reached trade agreements, investment agreements that are mutually beneficial. this morning we established the council between the united states and colombia. we are and wish to continue to be the best nation in latin america for american businesses. columbia will continue to be very proudly a close friend and a strategic ally of the united states. dear president trump, i hope you can visit us soon so that you can personally witness the transformation underway in our country. i hope to be able to welcome you to a columbia in peace a more equitable columbia, a
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better educated columbia then yothat you have so much contributed too. thank you so much. >> thank you very much. does anybody have any questions [laughter] i'm shocked. john, go ahead [inaudible] i would like to get your reaction to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein's decision to a point special counsel to investigate the russia interference in the campaign. was this the right move or is this part of a witchhunt? >> i respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt and there is no collusion between myself and my campaign , but i can always speak for myself and the russians, zero, i couli think it divides the country.
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i think we have a very divided country because that of and many other things. i can tell you we want to bring this great country of ours together. i will also say we have had tremendous success. you look at our job numbers, you look at what's going on at the bar border, you look at what will be happening, you will see incredible numbers with respect to general mattis and others with the isis situation. the numbers are staggering how successful they've been. tomorrow as you know i'm going to saudi arabia and israel and rome and we have the g7, we have a lot of great things going on. i hate to see anything that divides. i am fine with whatever people want to do. we have to get back to running this country really, really well. we've made tremendous progress in the last 100 and some days. you see job numbers, you see
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all of the production that starting, plants starting to open again that haven't been open in years. that's what i want to be focused on because believe me there's no collusion. russia is fine. whether it's russia or anybody else, my total priority is the united states of america. thank you very much [speaking in native tongue] translator: president cento, we say we are setting a new roadmap between columbia and the united states which are the concrete commitment. you were talking about the post- conflict time, many funds are needed for that. on the issue of the venezuela and human rights violation,
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there is plenty to be done >> as well as a very, very serious problem in venezuela. we haven't seen us problem like that in decades in terms of the kind of violence that we are witnessing. the president was telling me, and i knew that venezuela was a very wealthy country, just about the wealthiest in your neck of the woods, and it had tremendous strength in so many different ways, and now it is poverty-stricken. people don't have enough to eat. people have no food. there is great violence, and we will do whatever is necessary and we will work together to help fix that. i am really talking on a humanitarian level. when you look at the oil reserves and the potential
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wealth, you have to wonder why is that happening? how is that possible? it has been poorly run for a long time and hopefully that will change and they can use those assets for the good to take care of their people because right now what's happening is really a disgrace to humanity. john, i think you had a question for the president >> and have a question about the commitment. [speaking in native tongue]. translator: president trump and his administration has shown through the approval of the budget that for columbia means an increase in the support to fund the post- conflict era. last night we received, from a
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very important organization, the atlantic council, a report that includes both parts if presided by republican senator and a democrat senator, the roadmap recommended the governments of the united states and colombia to follow. this morning we established the council so that the private sector can also have a voice in that roadmap. this means we are working together on every front that can be convenient for those countries. we will continue to work together. we have ratified that commitment today during our conversation and as i said before, we have the best of relations with the united states. we are strategic allies in the region and we will continue to be so >> thank you mr. president. president santos, to you, we
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heard president trump say it's critical to stopping the flow of drugs into the united states and that will be the wall that he wants to build on the mexican border. do you agree that wall would be a positive step toward reducing the flow of drugs across the border? >> i believe the best way to fight the drug trafficking is by collaborating. this is not a problem of columbia only or problem of the united states only. it is a world problem and we have to all work together. we declare the war on drugs 40 years ago. the world declared the war on drugs and it is a war that has not been one. we must be more effective and more efficient. we are doing a very big effort because of the peace process to have a new strategy.
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carrot and stick. stick by forcing eradication. we have already eradicated, this year only, 15000 hectors which is the whole volume that we eradicated last year end we are starting to eradicate, to substitute voluntarily through a program where the peasants, and we have 80000 families in the program, they will substitute for legal crops. this is the first time this could be done because of the piece. before the conflict did not allow us to build roads and to give these peasants an alternative. now we have so we have to take advantage of this opportunity and continue reducing the production of coca. in the meantime, we will work together with the u.s. and other countries to fight the
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other links of the chain. the intermediaries. we have destroyed 22000 laboratories in the colombian jungles seizing the cocaine in the transit. we have seized record amount last year and this year we are doing even better than last year. by working together we can be much more effective and that is the commitment we just made or ratified this afternoon >> that was a long and very diplomatic answer to your question. i will say it a little bit shorter. walls work. just ask israel. they work. believe me they work and we have no choice. peter baker >> thank you mr. president. in light of a very busy newsweek, a lot of people would like to get to the bottom of a couple things. i would like to give you a chance to go on record.
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did you ever urge james comey in any way shape or form to closer back down the investigation into michael flynn, and also -- >> no, no. next question >> as you look back over the past six months or year, have you had any recollection where you wondered if anything you have done has been something that might be worthy of criminal charges in these investigation or impeachment as some of the left is implying >> i think it's totally rude ridiculous and everybody thanks health. we have to get back to working our country properly to take care of our problems. we done a fantastic job. we have millions and millions of people were looking at what you just said and said what are they doing. director comey was very unpopular with most people. i actually thought when i made the decision, and i also got a very strong recommendation
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from the deputy attorney general, but when i made that decision, actually thought it would be a bipartisan decision because you look at all of the people on the democratic side, not only the republican side that were saying such terrible things about director comay and he had the very poor performance on wednesday. it was so poor that i believe, and you would have to ask him because i don't like to speak for other people, but i believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very strong letter and then, on top of that, after the wednesday performance by director comay, you had a person come and readjust the record, which many people have never seen before because there were missed payments made. i thought that was something that was terrible.
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we need a great director of the fbi. i cherish the fbi. it is special. all over the world, no matter where you go, the fbi is special. they have not had that special reputation with what happened in the campaign, what happened with respect to the clinton campaign, and even you could say directly or indirectly to the much more successful trump campaign. we will have a director who will be outstanding. i will be announcing that very soon. i look forward to doing it. i think the people in the fbi will be very thrilled. in concluding, we look forward to getting this whole situation behind us so that when we go for the jabs and the strong military and all of the things we've been pushing so hard and successfully including healthcare, because
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obamacare is collapsing, it's dead, it's gone, there's nothing to compare anything to because we don't have healthcare in this country. just look at what's happening. at not just pulled out. other companies are pulling out. obamacare is a fallacy. it's gone. we need healthcare, we need to cut taxes. we will cut taxes. it will be the biggest tax cut in the history of our nation and that's what i want. it will bring back companies and jobs, we lost so many jobs and summary companies. to countries that are not so far from you, mr. president, they're very close to you and to many other places throughout the world. we are going to change that. we will have expansion. you look at what's happening with ford and general motors, you look at the tremendous number of jobs being announced in so many different fields, that's what i'm proud of and that's what we want to focus our energy on. the other is something i can only tell you, there was no collusion.
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everybody, even my enemies have said there is no collusion. we want to get back and keep on the track that we are on. the track that we are on his record setting and that's what we want to do. we want to break very positive records. thank you. >> sorry, you have another question? >> yes, someone who has done a lot of rebuilding and have had to rebound from an epidemic of crime and drugs over many years, what do you make of mr. trump's america first policy, and further, you have had a tough time with conservative radio sometimes being called a punchingbag and you say you have to persevere. have you given any advice to president trump on how too do so >> i don't think i'm in a position to give any advice to president trump. he can take care of himself.
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what we did in columbia, you quite rightly mentioned is persevere. when you know your support of the nation and you know you are doing the correct thing, you simply have to persevere and that's what we have done in columbia and that's why we were on the verge of being a failed state some years ago and now we are one of the stars of the region. that is through hard work, perseverance and clarity of your objectives, and that's what we have done and we have to continue because the trip is not over. [speaking in native tongue]. translator: i would like to ask you about trade. you are about to start the renegotiation of nafta.
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columbia and other countries in the hemisphere have a large trade deficit with the united states. are you worried about the fact that that could contribute to increasing the trade deficit >> it has been a long process and it has been a great thing to watch in the sense that the president did a fantastic job. that is not easy after so many years of war. i am very proud to get to know you, and i really congratulate you. there is nothing tougher than peace, and we want to make peace all over the world, and you are a great example of somebody who started it. fark was a long tough situation, as you know very well coming from the country. i think the president has done a magnificent job. it's not easy, but he's done a magnificent job [speaking in native tongue].
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translator: nearly impossible. on the trade issue, our deficit with the united states is not so large. it is a moderate deficit which of course, both countries will try to increase the volume of trade in both directions and investments in both directions. columbia is becoming an important investor here in the united states and this is something not many people know, but we have considerable investments in the united states. we have attempted to give to these flows of trade, investment, getting together those main players who are the investors in the private sector. i believe the foundations have been laid. we have deficit trade
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agreements which is working well. the number of colombians is very important to the united states have grown and we both believe that we can take greater advantage of those agreements in order to increase floo flow in both directions for the benefit of colombian and american people >> thank you very much everybody. thank you, thank you. >> president trump begins his first international trip tomorrow. u.s. news & world report writing that every president since ronald reagan has begun his term with a closer to home johjott to canada or mexico but the president's foreign
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voyage spending nine days will take him to the middle east, vatican city, belgium and italy for meetings with some of the world's most significant leaders. this will present the president with his first real test of multilateral engagement on a host of security defense, diplomatic, religious and economic issues. that reporting from the u.s. news and world report. meanwhile at home, president trump reacting to robert muller being named special counsel in the rush investigations, tweeting this is the single greatest witchhunt of a politician in american history. a couple hours later, another tweet with all of the illegal acts that took place in the clinton campaign and obama administration. there was never a special counsel appointed. the firing last week of james comey as fbi director will be part of what robert muller will investigate. a special counsel this afternoon, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein briefed senators on his firing.